Are Weekends Harder?

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I always seemed to have the hardest time staying on track over the weekends. I’d do “okay” throughout the week days, but then the weekend would come and BAM, I fell right off the perilously balanced wagon I had been riding on. It happened every time I tried to lose weight.

It was extremely frustrating to feel my self-control slipping away and even more frustrating when I would realize on Sunday night how awful I had eaten over the weekend. I felt very guilty and felt like a failure. Why was it that I could make decent choices during the week but then fall apart every single weekend?

On the average “dieting” weekend I’d end up baking cookies, going out to eat several times, overeating at home, and snacking on foods I ordinarily would have turned down. These episodes didn’t do anything to help the scale move, but rather hindered my small forward progress. Eventually, faced with yet another Monday of starting over, I’d just give up all together.

Looking back, I realize that for me, weekends were harder for several reasons:

  • My daily schedule was much more fluid.
  • I didn’t plan my meals on the weekend (I don’t know who I thought would do it – but I didn’t!)
  • The weekends felt like a holiday and I celebrated thus.
  • I wanted to reward myself for all the deprivation I experienced Monday – Friday.

I realize that none of these reasons are very good ones for making poor choices, but they were the excuses I used during those 10 years of unsuccessful weight control. And looking back I think for me, the weekends were harder than the week. Some things that I did differently during my successful weight loss endeavor were:

  1. Planned every meal – even if it was going to be a restaurant meal
  2. As best I could – plannedfor unexpected snacking opportunities, ie: meeting friends, going to the movies, etc.
  3. Didn’t use the weekend as an excuse not to exercise
  4. Gave myself permission to “mess up” without feeling like I had ruined my entire life

Those four things, coupled with a lot of saying, “I don’t need or want that,” really helped me get through the weekends without completely sabotaging myself. And the great thing was that every weekend that passed successfully was one I actually enjoyed more. I so enjoyed spending time with friends and family without worrying so much about what I was going to eat. I loved being able to have that special dessert because I had planned for it. And because I had planned for it I didn’t feel as though I needed to eat the entire thing. Those strategies were actually very freeing.

So where are you right now? Weekends harder than weekdays? If so, what do you do to combat that tendency, or what winning ideas do you have to help us all in this journey?  Diane

47 thoughts on “Are Weekends Harder?

  1. Miz says:

    they are TOTALLY more of a challenge around here.
    In a fun way (we go to see a movie every weekend as a couple. matinee so we have enough $$ left for movie treats :)) yet still a challenge.

    For me I simply set myself up when I was working to lose in a manner which I could always maintain. Weekends were a bit more “lax” food choiceswise but the same with regards to exercise (or more in an active rest way. we take walks as a family etc. That piece just occurred to me now!).

    I rarely take a weekend day off from working out—do frequently during the hectic week—so I know that even if my foodstuff falls by the wayside theres a balance.

    oh
    and KEY FOR ME is that all my weekend food indulging be in the name of fun. of social interaction. of ENJOYING (the food and the company.)
    .-= Miz´s last blog ..New Balance. New love. (giveaway post). =-.

  2. Laura says:

    On week days, I left home very early in the morning, carring with me all the food for the day. So I don’t have any problems, only I have to say no to foods from people at work (and sometimes this is difficult, but I’m used to, and people is used to my negatives).

    But, as you say, weekends are harder. Eating away from home, and all you have said.

    What I do is to try to be moderate, and exercise the more I can. The best thing of the weekends is the free time, so I have time to double my walks, or take the bicycle. And then I don’t feel so guilty to eat a piece of cake of my mother in law, for example, that would be unpolite to say no. I think I will send you an e-mail 😀

  3. Lance says:

    Diane,
    Weekends are way harder here! During the week, I do a much better job of planning my meals. Weekends, it just seems like we are out and about more – and it becomes more likely we’ll stop somewhere for a bite to eat. And being home, I feel like I’m more likely to “graze”. Okay…time to get disciplined! Thanks Diane!
    .-= Lance´s last blog ..Choosing Boundaries For Life Success =-.

  4. vickie says:

    I know people that do NOT have eating disorder behavior/history (like all of us) and simply have to watch their calorie intake that eat very carefully during the week and then up their intake a bit on the weekend. They also up their activity.

    For me personally – I am MORE careful on the weekends for exactly the reasons that you state – less ‘regular’ schedule and a lot of curve balls thrown at me.
    .-= vickie´s last blog ..College Kid Traveling Europe =-.

  5. She-Fit says:

    Definitely a challenge for me! I find that we go out to eat more on the weekends because all of our friends invite us. Not to mention I eat when I am just sitting around. I try to get a longer workout in since I don’t have as much to do. So it can go both ways. . depending on how strong I am that weekend
    .-= She-Fit´s last blog ..The Wave by THE FIRM =-.

  6. Amy says:

    Oh yes, weekends are harder…your schedule is not your own, you have less control over what, when and where you’re eating… I just try to do my best, which is not always great. And get re-focused on Monday morning!
    .-= Amy´s last blog ..What do women want? =-.

  7. Joanna Sutter says:

    I was just talking to Mrs. FatAss about this on Twitter! She knows weekends are rough on her so she does meal planning on Fridays so she stays on track for the weekend. I think I’m going to adopt this plan of action, too!
    .-= Joanna Sutter´s last blog ..Flavor Flav a-Capella =-.

  8. WaistingTime says:

    Weekends used to be much harder for me. Mostly I think it was because I got out of the house more during the week when the kids were at school and DH was at work; but spent weekends at home with them. And I also didn’t plan weekend meals! I think I was giving myself a couple days off of “work” too:)

    But fast forward several years and my kids are older and DH doesn’t work outside the house so most days feel the same here. Except I still am not as good about planning weekend dinners… but I usually plan leftovers for at least myself – the boys are out and DH can make his own dinner!
    .-= WaistingTime´s last blog ..Yogini in the Making =-.

  9. Mia says:

    Hands down weekends are HARD!

    I loose the routine in the house with the kids and husband home. The chaos can really stress me out. But you inspire me! I am taking your post today as a personal challenge to PLAN my meals/snacks this weekend and WRITE them down and CHECK them off!

    Exercise is the easy part of the weekend. I always workout on Saturday morning and Sunday is my day off.

    Have a great weekend!

    Mia

  10. Brenda says:

    wow, I never gave this much thought. But No, I don’t find weekends harder. I find them more fun now. It’s usually time spent with family. I don’t have a ‘work out’ on Saturday or Sunday but my daughter and I usually will play tennis, or jogging. Or the whole family will go to a park near us and go hiking. We are usually outdoors as much as possilbe. And when we are driving or on the go, the whole family nevers thinks twice about grabbing the cooler and packing healthy snacks/lunch in it.
    I love this post, it makes me realize I have achieved one of my main goals of making healthy habits a normal for my family 🙂
    .-= Brenda´s last blog .."weigh in" on vitamins =-.

  11. Robin says:

    Weekends are definitely harder but I think it’s because I get in this state of mind like my brain just turns off. It’s not just food, it’s also things I need to get done, the moment I get home on friday it just slips out of my head.
    .-= Robin´s last blog ..So Far So Good =-.

  12. karen@fitnessjourney says:

    Weekends can be a challenge because most of us are more socially active on the weekends. I find the hardest thing is when you are invited to someone’s home instead of a restaurant because they may not serve anything that you want to eat. I guess that is when we should follow your tip about giving yourself permission to mess up.
    .-= karen@fitnessjourney´s last blog ..The Biggest Loser: The Drama Returns =-.

  13. Diane says:

    For me weekends are simply a lot busier than the weekdays. We are a one car family and all of our errands happen on the weekends. We eat out for Saturday lunch – almost always at the grocery store deli and it involves a soup and salad or a slice of pizza. We also agree to one treat on Saturday night and lately that has been either black bean brownies or a Skinny Cow ice cream bar. One thing that is difficult for me is getting the same intake of water on the weekends . I get it in, but it takes a lot more of a conscious effort on the weekends because I get so busy.
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Ah, avacados ! =-.

  14. Benita says:

    In most cases, weekends are easier for me because I’m doing all the things I WANT to do (versus being bored at work) and find myself not as hungry. On the weekends, I tend to be content with a yogurt and a sliced tomato or peanut butter on celery for a meal rather than a full meal of protein, veggies and a starch. I’m a boredom eater and afternoons at work are the hardest on me because I’m getting tired and I have a boring job.

  15. Sunny says:

    Definitely more of a challenge, but getting better, for much the same reasons/behavior you apparently exhibited during your successful weight loss, too. Almost item per item. Thanks for bringing it front and center, like you do so much that I’m going through/experiencing! You truly are a beacon of light! You ought to incorporate a lighthouse in your decor around here. LOL
    .-= Sunny´s last blog ..Dammit Dammit Dammit!!! =-.

  16. Marcelle says:

    With my journey being in maintaining I do relax a little more on a Saturday, Sunday am back on track and start my weeks training…
    One does need some off time..but while losing the weight weekends were as focused and planned as the weeks.
    .-= Marcelle´s last blog ..My Niece =-.

  17. tj says:

    Oh yes…my weekends include a lunch out with my Mom ( I usually do well with eating out) a home cooked dinner with my Mom (she can be a tough sell on the weight watchers recipes! lol) then Sunday is Lunch out with the BF, and usually a meal at home with a glass of wine (the only day I allow myself a drink) If I plan my week accordingly and save my WW weekly points it all works out. That is why I love the WW plan!! 🙂
    .-= tj´s last blog ..Wii For Weigh-Ins. Trust It? =-.

  18. Cari (aka Gastric Bypass Barbie) says:

    I do my best workouts on the weekend, because I don’t have a time limit. I can ride my bike 30+ miles and not worry about having to race home to get to work or be somewhere else. So, for me, weekends are better for exercise, but challenging for vitamins! I find that I’m incredibly lax in the vitamin department because I’m not sitting at my desk, waiting for the phone minder to go off and tell me to “take my calcium” or “take my iron” or “take my chromium picolinate” 😉
    .-= Cari (aka Gastric Bypass Barbie)´s last blog ..A Love Letter =-.

  19. The Chubby Girl Diaries says:

    Weekends and weekdays are the same here. But only because I have a schedule going. The hardest part for me is when the schedule changes unexpectedly. Because then I have to think on my feet and try a different route to stay the course. And sometimes I overthink it. Or sometimes I allow myself a tiny slip here or there.

    ~Kellie
    .-= The Chubby Girl Diaries´s last blog ..Eating out less… getting more out of it =-.

  20. Hadley says:

    Hey Diane! It’s been a while since I’d been in blogland, but I wanted to stop on by and say hello. Has the publishing industry come to their senses and given you a book deal yet?

    To go to the topic at hand, for me weekends are a double edged sword. Weekends are when I have some of my best days because I can devote much more time to workouts than I normally would. I can also generally stave off hunger better: when I’m out in the world doing stuff, I get less hungry than if I’m sitting at my desk doing work. On the other hand, weekends are also more dangerous. It’s easier to fall off the wagon and eat food one oughtn’t, and once you’re off the wagon on the weekend, it’s much easier to keep going with the badness.

    Very insightful post!
    .-= Hadley´s last blog ..Onward and downward =-.

  21. Sagan says:

    “I didn’t plan my meals on the weekend (I don’t know who I thought would do it – but I didn’t!)” It’s funny how we assume that “someone else” might plan our meals/exercise for us, heh. But WE are the ones who have to take initiative!

    I find I can do well on weekends if I keep busy or if I spend an entire day with the boyfriend or something… my main problem with overeating is simply when I’m bored and there’s food around. Especially if I’m alone.
    .-= Sagan´s last blog ..A Crash Course in B Vitamins: Part One =-.

  22. Lara (Thinspired) says:

    Great food for thought as usual! 🙂 I am much the same…weekends are generally harder for me simply because there is a lack of structure that the weekdays provide. So many special occasions, late mornings, late nights, etc…all of that influences my eating habits. Journaling my intake really helps with that.
    .-= Lara (Thinspired)´s last blog ..Fancy Food =-.

  23. Stacy says:

    Weekends are actually easier for me, thus the reason I was able to really start my weight loss over the holidays when I was on vacation. I am busy with things I can’t get done during the week while I am at work. At work I’m just sitting there and when I pass by food I eat out of boredom. On the weekends, it is easier for me to find time to work out and then I have so many things I want to get done that I only really eat when I have to. If we do go out for dinner or something, odds are that I didn’t have much else to eat that day, so it doesn’t completely ruin my whole weekend. We really, really don’t go out to eat much, though, so it is a rare treat.
    .-= Stacy´s last blog ..Mini me =-.

  24. Quix says:

    Weekends are harder. It’s the (needed and deserved) break from routine that makes it a little more challenging to stay on top of it. I HAVE to have at least one day fully off work/workouts (usually Sunday), and I actually do pretty well when I workout each weekday and can take the whole weekend off (though with needing to do long runs when it’s daylight and warm enough, I have had to workout Saturdays). Same with food – oddly enough even though we’re home and have more time, it’s tempting to go out.
    .-= Quix´s last blog ..I Got Nothin’ Today =-.

  25. Sarah says:

    I used to have exactly the same problems you mentioned on the weekends, but lately I’ve been busy and when that’s the case I often undereat because the times flies by and I’m not triggered by usual “time to eat food” weekday cues, so it can be a mix. I do find that as time goes on, I no longer automatically have that desire to bake cookies or “celebrate” my weekends like I used to, which really helps a lot!
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Active =-.

  26. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    First, I love that pic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Weekends for me are not a prob as I have a plan for them & whether that is to eat good all weekend thru or not, I have a plan. That is key, like you said. Plan for it & don’t beat yourself up either.

    One thing to keep in mind for those that don’t plan, a high % of people eat all the calories/pounds they lost during the week by not paying attention over the weekend. I am not saying to not enjoy BUT why work so hard during the week to eat it all back over the weekend! Plan & make choices. You don’t have to have everything in sight.
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Toxins in the Home; Weight Set Point Theory =-.

  27. Alissa says:

    I find it a little harder on the weekends. Like you said, I’m more apt to bake or indulge in not so healthy foods. But then again, I can get stressed out during the week and eat things I shouldn’t too. It’s kind of a balance for me.
    .-= Alissa´s last blog ..Weigh in Day =-.

  28. Katie says:

    I really enjoyed your post today. I just found your blog and have added it to the sidebar of my blog so I can access it easily! I love that you said that every successful weekend you passed through basically made it better and better. I love having that picture in my head. Plus, I like the “planning for the unexpected”.
    .-= Katie´s last blog .. =-.

  29. Erin says:

    I am the exact opposite. I struggle to make time to plan out my weekday meals on a consistent basis. Weekends are perfect for cooking and making good choices. I always try to cook enough for lunches during the week, so I’m not as rushed trying to get out the door in the morning!
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Measurements, Progress, Rewards =-.

  30. Leah says:

    My weekends got really easy, but then last weekend and the one before I blew it. Whew! Not sure what happened, but just let it go.

    I’ve started exercising on Saturdays and that is helping me too. 🙂
    .-= Leah´s last blog ..Happy 101 Blog Award =-.

  31. Jill says:

    I read this post, and then I re-read it, and then I re-re-read it again because this is my biggest struggle right now. I am golden Monday thru Friday, but Saturday and Sunday and the lack of structure just kills me. I nosh and graze my way through the weekend because I never know what we will be doing or where we might be going. I’m going to remember this post and your ideas this weekend and make a concerted effort to NOT go nuts because it’s the weekend (I also feel like weekends are a mini-holiday!). Excellent post Diane!
    .-= Jill´s last blog ..The wonderful things my husband does for me =-.

  32. Karyn says:

    Weekends are always harder for me. One, because we don’t have any schedules so meals aren’t always on time. And everyone knows how that turns out. Plus, quit often we have had to make a trip to the city and that always means eating out. I know that a can make healthy choices while eating out but, more often than not, I don’t.
    .-= Karyn´s last blog ..Week 3 challenge updates. =-.

  33. kilax says:

    For me the weekends vary. Sometimes they are easier because I am not dealing with work stress, and eating in response to that! But sometimes we make special meals and tend to eat too much.

  34. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    For a while, weekends were a lot harder for me because I had given myself permission to eat “whatever” on “special occasions.” Somehow I had decided that weekends were “special occasions.” And there are of course more social events. I had to realize that having a good time did not mean eating “whatever” but to make good choices without beating myself up.

  35. Nicole says:

    I definitely have a harder time on weekends as much of the time my schedule and whereabouts are unknown ahead of time. We’re also generally with a group and so compromising with a group especially on what to do, were to go to eat, etc. can create more challenging situations with health and nutrition. Great post, Diane!
    .-= Nicole´s last blog ..Success! Prevention Bakes! =-.

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